EU Contributes €148M to Palestinian Authority

BRUSSELS, 27 March, 2013 (WAFA) – The European union contributed €148 million to the Palestinian Authority in the second part of its 2013 assistance package for Palestine, Wednesday said a press release by the European commission.

It says that this contribution, which is funded by the European neighborhood and partnership instrument, will ensure that critical support to the PA in the area of health, education and social services to the Palestinian people is not interrupted.

€108 million will be allocated to the PEGASE mechanism (an instrument to channel EU and international assistance as a contribution to the building of the Palestinian State), which supports the Palestinian National Development Plan by helping the PA to finance its budget deficit and implement its reform agenda; meet its obligations towards civil employees, pensioners and most vulnerable citizens, and maintain the functioning of the administration and the provision of essential public services to the population.

It further allocates a second tranche of €40 million to UNRWA’s 2013 regular budget (General Fund) in order to support the education, health, relief and social services programs which UNRWA is responsible for providing for Palestine refugees in West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

High Representative and Vice-President Catherine Ashton said: “The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in Brussels on 19 March confirmed that addressing the fiscal crisis of the Palestinian Authority requires concerted action by the PA, Israel and the donor community.”

“With this contribution the European Union delivers on its promise to sustain the PA’s viability and its ability to ensure essential services for the Palestinian people without interruption, we will continue to support the Palestinian people, including through UNRWA, and urge other donors to do the same,” she added.

EU commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Štefan Füle, commented: ‘Despite commendable efforts of budget consolidation, the fiscal problem of the Palestinian Authority is progressively worsening and has been extremely difficult since the end of last year. The EU is aware of these constraints and taking steps to alleviate the problem.”

He added, “These new funds are vital for ensuring that there is no interruption in the provision of basic services, such as health, education, social protection, as well as in the relief to the Palestinian people in Palestine and to the Palestinian refugees abroad.”

Source: WAFA News